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Postgame Wrap-Up: Extra-Time Success

Carl Soderberg and Semyon Varlamov help Avalanche to shootout victory over Canucks

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Carl Soderberg has scored 84 career NHL goals but had never found the back of the net in a tiebreaking shootout. That was until he tallied the game-deciding marker on Wednesday night.

Soderberg's wrist shot in the sixth round of the shootout went off Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom's glove and trickled across the goal line to give the Colorado Avalanche the 3-2 victory at Pepsi Center. Soderberg entered the contest 0-for-4 all-time in the skills competition.

"You obviously want to score, so it's a great opportunity to get the game done," he said. "Varly had some big saves and gave us a chance to score the game-winner."

The shootout was only the Avs' second of the season, with them last taking part in the tiebreaker on Oct. 16 at the New York Rangers. It was Colorado's second extra-time victory of the campaign and first since Nov. 18 at the Anaheim Ducks.

Mikko Rantanen also found twine in the shootout, tallying in the third round to extend the best-of-three competition to a sudden victory.

"We've been struggling lately in overtime," Soderberg said. "Today we got it to a shootout and got to win that, so it's great."

Video: Carl Soderberg after the game versus Vancouver

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov denied 30 of the 32 shots he faced in the first 65 minutes of play and five of six in the shootout. He stopped the final four shooters he faced after Vancouver's Brock Boeser tallied in the second round.

"It's relief. To get the goal in [the shootout] and get the two points finally," Varlamov said. "It's a true relief, and I'm very excited about the result today."

Varlamov improved to 30-15 all-time in the shootout and now has a .750 save percentage (114-of-152), the third-highest mark in NHL history of at least 100 attempts faced. He is 26-9 and has a .766 save percentage (85-for-11) in 35 tiebreakers as a member of the Avalanche.

Video: Varlamov after the shootout win vs. the Canucks

"I have a lot of confidence in our team going to a shootout, because I like our shooters and I like our goaltenders," said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. "To take it to a shootout is fine with me. I just want to make sure that we aren't giving up easy goals, especially in overtime. They're going to have to earn it if they're going to score on us."

The victory improves the Avalanche's record to 5-0-1 in its last six games and 6-2-4 in its last 12 outings. It also gives the team some separation from the Canucks in the Western Conference standings, as Colorado is now five points up on Vancouver and moves into the second wild-card spot with 68 points.

The Minnesota Wild is in the first wild-card position with 68 points as well, but the Central-Division rival owns the tiebreaker over Colorado with three more regulation and overtime wins.

"It's exciting to be in the playoffs, but all the teams around us, they're just not going to sleep, they're going to continue playing hard," Varlamov said. "Everybody is winning, so we have to keep winning games and collecting points."

POWER PK: Colorado went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, the fifth time this season the club was perfect when defending five or more short-handed situations.

"The guys played outstanding today, the PK was huge," Varlamov said. "I think we took too many penalties, but we did a great job in defending the penalty kill."

Three of the Avs' penalties came in the first period when the game was tied at either 0-0 or 1-1.

"We ended up gaining a little momentum off of our penalty kill tonight because of the kills we had in the first period," Bednar said. "A nice job of keeping [the Canucks] under pressure."

In the past eight games since Feb. 14, the Avs have killed 27-of-31 opponent power plays for an 87.1-percent success rate, the sixth highest in the league in that time.

SETTING NEW MARKS: With the assist on Mikko Rantanen's goal in the first period, Gabriel Landeskog tied a career high with 65 points this season.

Landeskog, who already has personal bests this year with 33 goals, nine game-winning markers and 10 power-play tallies, matches a season scoring mark that he set in 2013-14 when he had 26 goals and 39 assists. He leads all Avalanche skaters with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the month of February.

The marker for Rantanen was his 12th man-advantage goal of the season, extending his team lead in the category and tying his previous NHL high set last year. He is tied for seventh in the NHL in power-play goals.

Rantanen is also now on a five-game point streak (three goals, two assists). It's his third longest streak of the season behind his season-opening nine-game run and his 14-game streak in November and December, which was tied for the third longest in Avalanche history (since 1995-96).

WILSON CONTRIBUTES: Colin Wilson returned to the lineup after missing the last eight games with an upper-body injury and picked up an assist.

Wilson had the secondary helper on Nathan MacKinnon's goal at 8:19 of the first period that opened the game's scoring. It was his ninth assist and 19th point of the campaign. He has three points (goal, two assists) in the last four games he's played in.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native was skating in his first contest since Feb. 10 at the Boston Bruins and began the game on a line with Sven Andrighetto and Sheldon Dries.

MORE POSTGAME NOTES: The Avalanche concluded its 2018-19 season series against the Canucks, finishing with a 1-1-1 record.

Colorado finished 1-for-3 on the power play and has scored a man-advantage goal in four of its last five games, going 5-for-20 (25 percent) over that span.

Nathan MacKinnon notched his 33rd goal of the season, tied with Gabriel Landeskog for the team lead. The duo is tied for 10th among NHL skaters in goals, while MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are tied for fourth in the league with 81 points each.

Sven Andrighetto recorded an assist and has points in four of his last five games, with five assists in that span.

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